'For sure' - Agent confirms Benfica stance on £180m duo linked with Man Utd

Man Utd have been linked with the pair with Erik ten Hag keen to strengthen in defence and midfield.

The agent of Joao Neves and Antonio Silva insists the pair will stay at Benfica this month but has not ruled out a summer exit amid links to Manchester United.

Neves has been heavily linked with a move to United for some time and that intensified this month to the point at which Benfica were forced to release a statement outlining their stance. The 19-year-old has filled the boots of Enzo Fernandez, now at Chelsea, and is thought to have a £103million release clause in his contract.

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Silva is among a number of central defenders thought to be on United's radar in recent months and as with Neves, has attracted plenty of interest across Europe. Reports have suggested he could cost up to €90m (around £77m) and Mendes, who represents the pair, insists Benfica will have a decision to make on both this summer.

"Their (Benfica's) president Rui Costa will have to decide when he’s ready to consider a deal," Mendes told Portuguese outlet Record. "It’s always the club’s decision. I can take the proposals and the conditions.

“Yes, there have been situations in which any of [Neves or Silva] would have had offers if the door had been open. The players will stay at Benfica until the end of the season, that’s for sure, and then Rui Costa will decide what’s best to do. And then, as with all the other players: meetings, talks and, when the time is right, the decision will be made."

Neves and Silva will both likely come to the fore again in the summer, once United are ready to invest heavily in their playing squad. Transfer business in the final week of this month will be minimal, if any, as the club awaits full ratification of Sir Jim Ratcliffe's investment.

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Centre-back and central midfield have already been identified by Erik ten Hag as key areas to strengthen amid concerns over the longevity of current options in each area. Three of United's five central defenders are 30 or above, with Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans both out of contract in the summer, while Harry Maguire was up for sale all last summer.

In midfield, questions have been raised regarding the longevity of Casemiro, who will be 32 next month and still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract. Christian Eriksen will also turn 32 in February while Sofyan Amrabat has not been particularly impressive during his loan spell from Fiorentina and it is unclear whether that move will be made permanent in the summer.